Thursday, January 27, 2011

Sticking Your Neck Out....

It has been a clear-the-decks week. 
Empty out a room. Paint it. Put it back together. Chuck out what you don’t want. Find stuff chucked out and rescue it. Justify why you saved the chucked out item.

Writers are hoarders. Teachers are hoarders. I am doubly dammed or blessed whichever way you look at it.

While I have been painting and contemplating treasure or trash... Bob Mayer has been taking a hard look at the Digital Book World conference and weighing up the worth of their speakers and the comments on twitter about where digital publishing is going...self publishing... and being your own publisher/bookstore owner.... This is a must read. Bob walks the talk. He pulls no punches.

Zoe has released a couple of ebooks and designed and executed an amazing campaign around getting her name out there. This name is a pseudonym and in this critique of her year, social marketing her ebooks she compares it with her other ‘real life’ writer persona. Zoe shot to fame on the writer’s blogosphere with her video series Who is Zoe Winters...clever marketing. This article is also a must read for people contemplating ebooks.

I post these articles because the face of publishing is changing rapidly and writers should be aware of what is happening in the industry and what other writers are experiencing.

Know what you want to do and go in with eyes wide open.

So after that dose of reality...back to Fiction
On Craicerplus (my Amplify page) I have links to articles on

Hunger Games- Why Kids Love Disaster Distress and Dystopia...(not only kids...this is a great article by a psychologist.)

10 Steps for Working Past The ‘This Stinks’ Blues.

How To Organise Your Assignments, Research, Interviews and All The Rest

How To Write Your First Novel In Under Four Weeks.

A Handy Beginners Guide To ebook Formats Apps And Devices.

And the Big One SCBWI NEW YORK...kicks off tomorrow....However you can hole up in your office and follow it all as it happens by going to the live blog site...I did that for LA...great little insights and it didn’t cost me the ticket...(but oh how I wished I was there.)

If you are interested in a conference closer to home Spinning Tales in Auckland is still open for registrations for another month.

Anita Laydon Millar advises that you must stick your neck out because you never know where it might lead you...(all from a reader of her blog...)

Here is episode 2 of Zoe’s Self Publishing Video Series...have a laugh.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Thoughts Over Coffee....

I’m back home. 
The holiday is over. 
The kids are still on holiday tho. This means that large cleaning projects get tackled piecemeal...because just as you think you have finished, you turn around to see the kids have been quietly trashing another part of the house. The lawn is overgrown, the indoor plants are dead and you promised that before the new bed gets delivered you will redecorate the yeah...Its 30 hours since we came home...I need a holiday!

So what is hot and happening in the blogosphere.

Yesterday I managed to catch a little bit of Kidlitchat on Twitter. This real time twitter chat session happens every Wednesday at 3pm for me which is a rotten time as I’m usually on the school run and I only catch the last five minutes of it...But there was, as usual, some meaty thoughts.

The teachers on the chat session were commenting that they show their kids Book them on class websites etc etc . There was some talk about the trailers inspiring kids to read the book. This was welcome news to the writers on the chat as there was a lot of discussion on whether it was worth it to produce a book trailer. 
Greg Pincus who organises KidLit Chat had asked this question in his blog post a couple of weeks ago. Writers are still thinking this is in the too hard basket...but those that are getting into it think it’s a great idea. If you are thinking along these lines...check out the post and read the comments.

In the chat session, I asked the question would you have a book trailer for an ebook? This was seen as a good idea by some and others had never connected the two before...time will tell whether we see book trailers for ebooks. I remember thinking how weird when I saw the back of a bus advertising a book...and now this kind of advertising is everywhere. There is no hard and fast rule on marketing your book only in book stores.

Michael Hyatt CEO of Thomas Nelson Publishers has written about what he sees happening in ebooks this year in his six trends article. This article is being heavily commented upon and there are lots of conversations happening around it. As one commenter writes If Starbucks can sell music CDs can McDonalds sell downloadable ebooks as part of their advertising?(An enhanced happy meal experience anyone?)

There has been some discussion about where the new gate keepers for ebooks will come from? Who will become the ebook reviewers? The filters of what is a good or worthwhile ebook to read, will it be print reviewers? Or will some 'body' jump into the void and become the guru ebook reviewer? These and other interesting questions have been percolating in my holiday mind...I will be interested in who picks up the baton.

Outside of ebooks...

The awesome Victoria Mixon has written a guest blog on Write to Done about the seven secrets of being an independent editor. This is a great post to read before you get hung up on how bad your writing is....

Janet Reid is preparing to go to the huge Writers Digest conference and she gives a great run down on the difference between queries and if you always wanted to know go on over and take a look.

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

Making Books Do Things Ebooks Cant and Vice Versa. (this is an amazing article on hand made artefact 
books and enhanced books and ebooks...and the blurring of the lines between them...something for everyone here) Go here for the latest comment on authors enhanced content and contracts....)

How Authors Move Their Own Merchandise...(get some innovative ideas...)

I leave you with an inspiring story of an author blogger who started like we all did not really sure of what she should be doing and ended up with an agent and a book deal because of it...
There is hope for us all.


Check out this GREAT page of mugs for authors. I want them all! (the pic is one of the mugs featured. Yay Elspeth Antonelli !)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Quick...It's Thursday...

The day started with the realization that it was Thursday. I’m still on holiday, now in another city from last week. Things are much busier here, more distractions. Then I also realized that I had not touched a computer since I got here.
What was the blog post going to be about? Still being on holiday? How wrinkly a child can get when water sliding? The Tennis on TV?

So a quick look into Twitter…to look for items of interest.

Rachelle has tale of woe about what happens when a publisher has a preconceived notion of a book and before reading it plans the marketing of it.

If you are looking for a chewy article to help you understand new media and how our habits are changing around the web and what it means to you, the author, read this article, The Web Is A Customer Service Medium.

Bookbuzzr is posting a great series of articles about book marketing mistakes. This one is on Tag lines. This is a very good article.

Still on this topic….

Richard Curtis has been looking at Whether Authors Make Good Publishers…
Richard and JA Konrath are going head to head over this…go on be a spectator and read the comments on this article. This is probably going to be a big issue of 2011. Publish yourself or stay with the traditional model…..

If you are thinking about book trailers this year here is a YouTube resource list for you.

I'll be back home next week...Keep an eye on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) for new content.

Off to watch the Tennis....

Thursday, January 6, 2011


With the beginning of a New Year many writers take the time to reflect on the year just passed and vow to do better.
Over the last two weeks it has been interesting to read the future plans of others and admire their confidence about letting the world know their future plans too.
Some of this confidence springs from verbalising and internalising goals. If you can say the goals out loud (or write them in a blog post) they are achievable. You will be held to account. Someone could say in September ‘I thought you were going to....’ There is nothing like having to think of an excuse, about why you didn’t follow through, to apply the whip of persistence to your back.

So... I’m still plugging away on Mars...and I want to finish it and get going on another cool idea.
I’m still intrigued and interested in podcasting.
I am excited about the opportunity to participate in FaBo again.
I would love it...(fall down in a faint...) if my current MS, doing the rounds, was picked up.

Now that I have that out of the way, onto some great round ups from others for you to get inspiration from.

The Kidslit team produced a good round up of writer’s tools to start the New Year off well. I have covered a few of them previously but it never hurts to have a reminder about what is out there to help writers. I notice that a few of my friends are now using Write or Die which is in this comprehensive list. (Write or Die has a new tool Edit Minion...yes you can have it edit your MS and highlight stuff to work on.)

Publishing Perspectives has gathered together a great list of book marketing articles. This list covers author entrepreneurship to case studies on translations woes.

Bob Mayer of Write It Forward has put up his list of predictions for authors and publishers for 2011.
This is an interesting list and gives the author a few things to think about. Bob got into trouble when he announced his predictions for 2010. Events then proved him you should check out his 2011 predictions.

On predictions...this will be the year that New Zealand discovers ebooks. I predict that not only will we see sales figures for ebooks in New Zealand but that more New Zealand authors will publish ebooks, and that New Zealand publishing houses will begin to experiment with marketing an ebook list. After all they are seriously changing contracts to reflect the growing importance of this market. If you doubt me just think about many people do you know with an iPad or ebook reader? I know two people who got them for Christmas....

For the authors contemplating the new novel, I have a couple of links that remind us of the business of plot and structure. First a timely revisit of the Hero’s Journey and second (thanks Helen) a link to Storyboard plotting...a feast of movable post-it notes.

If you are looking at your web page and scratching your head, check out this article on the importance of a Bio Page.

Over on Craicerplus (My Amplify Page) I have links to articles on

Microsoft’s Predictions For ebooks In The Year 2010 - Made In The Year 2000

Gail Carson Levine - On Writing Serials...(learn from the master)

An Agent On Giving Feedback...(understandable but sad)

Future of Reading –article by the LA Times about publishers shrinking role...

Dean Wesley Smith on Scams and Why You Should Be Your Own Publisher...(thought provoking stuff.)

10 Creative’s to Watch in 2011...This is a look at some amazing illustrators

13 Writing Cliches That Will Kick Your Ass (read read read)

Daily Newspapers for Kids In France....(How do they make It work?)

Finally Dark Angel has come up the most comprehensive list of resources to find Baby Names on the web...including Pirate Names and Name Generators...I predict you will find a great name for your MC....

maureen....still on holiday in the sweltering sub tropics...

RIP Dick King Smith...Celebrated Children’s Author Died Yesterday aged 88...
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